Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

Sautéed zucchini is a quick, easy, and healthy side dish. It’s delicious, too. I love this version with zucchini cooked with garlic and butter. You only need five minutes of cooking time, and it’s time to eat! Jump to the Garlic Butter Sautéed Zucchini Recipe

Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

How to Cook Zucchini on the Stove

We love zucchini around here. Have you seen our Guilt-Free Zucchini Noodles or these stuffed zucchini boats, yet? We’ve even made a free-form lasagna using zucchini. This time, we are sharing how to cook zucchini on the stovetop. You only need five minutes of cooking time. Let me show you how.

There are lots of ways to cook zucchini, but the quickest is to pan-fry or sauté it in a pan on the stove. By cooking zucchini this way, the zucchini browns on the outside and becomes tender on the inside.

We pan fry zucchini often and especially love it when the zucchini is cooked in a little butter. The butter adds a nutty flavor and helps the zucchini to brown.

We also love adding a tablespoon of minced garlic to the pan, because butter and garlic are just meant to be, right?

The trick to sautéing zucchini is not to overcook it. Overcooked zucchini turns mushy.

Golden brown zucchini that's been cooked on the stove

My Best Tips For Pan-Fried Zucchini

Use a wide skillet. By using a large skillet, the zucchini has the chance to spread out and brown. This applies to cooking most vegetables on the stovetop. We use the same tip when cooking mushrooms — by spreading the veggies out in a single layer, they brown instead of steam.

Don’t peel the zucchini. Peeled zucchini turns mushy and has no crunch.

Don’t salt zucchini ahead of time or at the beginning of cooking. Salt draws out water from the zucchini. This will make it less crunchy when it’s cooked. Since salt does make things taste good, we use it, but prefer to salt towards the end.

Cook the zucchini until crisp-tender, which means it will look wilted, but still have a crunch.

Possible Zucchini Recipe Variations

Sautéed zucchini has lots of possible recipe variations. Here are a few of our favorites:

Make it cheesy and stir in a little bit of grated parmesan or another type of cheese just before serving.

We love the combination of garlic and butter, but you can use other spices. Try Italian seasoning, Za’atar spice blend, Cajun seasoning, an Indian spice blend like curry powder, or chili powder (here’s our homemade chili powder blend).

Add in some extra crunch with toasted sliced almonds or buttery pine nuts.

Throw in chopped tomatoes with the zucchini and cook until the zucchini is crisp-tender and the tomatoes collapse a little and release some of their juices.

Add more protein by adding cooked or canned beans — white beans, chickpeas, and black beans would be excellent.

A bowl of Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

More Easy Zucchini Recipes

  • These meatless Stuffed Zucchini Boats are packed with flavor. We stuff them with three kinds of cheese as well as one of our favorite ingredients: roasted red peppers.
  • Our easy, Cheesy Baked Zucchini Chips are addictive. They are perfect to serve with dinner or just as an afternoon snack.
  • How to make the Best Zucchini Bread with a lightly spiced, perfectly sweetened batter and a whole pound of grated zucchini mixed in.
  • This Mediterranean Zucchini Noodles Salad has zucchini noodles, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and a spicy yogurt dressing.
  • Zucchini stars in this Vegetable Lasagna with tender vegetables, a light tomato sauce, and lots of cheese.

Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

Sauteed zucchini is a quick, easy, and healthy side. We love simply sauteed zucchini with a bit of minced garlic, salt, and pepper. That said, we have shared quite a few variations in the article above.

Makes 4 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 ¼ pounds chopped zucchini (2 medium)

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar, optional

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, optional

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions

    It’s up to you as to how you cut the zucchini. You can slice the zucchini into rounds, cut into half moons or chop into bitesize pieces.

    Melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the zucchini is browned in places and tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Turn off the heat, and then stir in the scallions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and cheese (if using). Taste, and then season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Vegan modification: Substitute the butter with olive oil and either leave out the cheese or replace the parmesan with a bit of nutritional yeast.
  • Alternatives to parmesan cheese include feta cheese, goat cheese, or a sharp cheddar.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We did not include cheese or nuts in the calculations.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe (just over a cup) / Calories 32 / Total Fat 2.9g / Saturated Fat 1.8g / Cholesterol 7.6mg / Sodium 292.2mg / Carbohydrate 1.5g / Dietary Fiber 0.3g / Total Sugars 0.2g / Protein 0.4g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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21 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Megan October 8, 2021, 4:53 am

    One word: yum! Made this as a side for chicken parmesan for dinner tonight (to use up some sad-looking zuccs in the crisper), and it was so delicious! I added a little bit of grated parmesan in at the end as per your suggestion, and it was awesome. Will definitely cook zucchini like this again into he future.

    Reply
  • Gavin October 6, 2021, 4:49 pm

    Hello! Has anyone tried pineapple juice or pineapples when sautéing zucchini for extra flavor? I was thinking about trying that but was wanting to see if anyone has tried it yet,Thank you!

    Reply
  • Linda August 30, 2021, 6:52 pm

    Hello Adam and Joanne, Thank you for your recipes. I made zucchini today. I fried up some brown sugar bacon added onions, fresh zucchini yellow and green. Fresh garlic fresh tomatoes. I let that fry up a little bit then I added salt and pepper. Delicious! Thank you for all your ideas. I’m looking forward to more recipes thank thank you both. Linda

    Reply
  • Daniel Ford July 23, 2021, 9:26 pm

    One of the best zucchini side dish that you can make it as the dinner. Also, it was easy and quick to make the dish. Chop, chop, chop, slice, slice, slice and toss together. LA LA LA! All done in less than 15 minutes! Plus this recipe is very helpful to use up the glut of zucchini that my wife and I grew in our garden. Wink!

    Reply
  • Stacie Holliday June 19, 2021, 10:37 am

    This recipe is so good!!!!

    Reply

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